UB Irie

UB Irie

In 1978, England’s unemployment soared to new heights as railroad and coal-mining strikes paralyzed the economy. Birmingham’s disenfranchised youth gathered at church dances where DJs played the latest Jamaican reggae and at blues dances throughout the city and at uptown clubs such as the Rainbow and the Mecca Ballroom. That same year, a band formed in Birmingham, calling itself UB40 — a reference to a British unemployment form. In Jamaica, meanwhile, a producer named Tony Johnson revolutionized the reggae world with the inaugural Reggae Sunsplash.

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